Nuts are a very important ingredient around the Holidays Season… on savory plates, festive deserts, chestnuts, Nutcracker ballet on television! The idea of nuts bringing good luck around Christmas time appears to have stuck. In Ancient Rome, nuts even became a good luck charm for fertility!
So, if nuts are so delicious and healthy, why not we eat nuts all year-round?!
Why are nuts and seeds good for your health?
- Nuts have a type of fat that may help reduce your risk of heart disease – unsaturated fat
- They have no cholesterol; and are part of the Mediterranean diet which is a heart healthy diet
- they are a great snack for someone with diabetes as they have no carbohydrates, high in protein and fibre to keep your blood sugars stable
- They are a great snack if you want to lose weight as they are so filling – remember they are very high in calories so if you’re wanting to lose weight, you don’t want to have more than a serving (1/4 cup daily)
- If you need to gain weight, nuts are a healthy way to do this – you could choose nuts by themselves or nut butter. For example, mix peanut butter into your oatmeal for more calories, add some extra peanut butter on some crackers or toast; some people like to mix it into milk with a banana for a quick peanut butter banana smoothie!
- Many nuts contain antioxidants which may help protect against some diseases like cancer/heart disease
- Nuts are delicious! Enjoy them unsalted if you have high blood pressure.
- Choose soft nuts if you have dentition issues or trouble chewing. The softest nut would be cashews.
Which is the healthiest nut?
If I had to choose, I would say it would be tie between almonds, walnuts, pistachios and sunflower seeds.
Did you know?
- Peanuts are not actually nuts? They are a member of the legume family and grow underground as part of a root system.
- Chia and flax seeds are not nuts, but are exceptionally healthy seeds that are high in fibre and omega-3 fats. They can be especially helpful if you have constipation.
Other ways to add nuts?
You can sprinkle almonds on top of your yogurt, use nuts to replace croutons in your salad, or make a low sugar baked treat like these low sugar energy balls you can make with the kids:
They are so easy and only five ingredients with some variety to make them as you like:
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips or 1/2 cup dried cranberries/raisins or 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
- 3 tbsp. chia seeds or ground flax seeds
- 1/2 cup either peanut butter or almond butter – if it’s a nut free facility you can use “Sunbutter” that is nut free.
- 4 tbsp. honey
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup oats
Mix all ingredients together, roll into 1-inch balls, put on a baking sheets and freeze for 30 minutes and you are done – enjoy 🙂
Written by: Nilou Forooghian, Registered Dietitian at Legacies
Learn more about Dietitian Consultation and Meal Planning.
Nilou completed her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from UBC. She is registered Dietitian with 19 years’ experience, and is passionate about helping people with digestive and other chronic health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and weight management that can impact one’s life.
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